Is it time for the United States of America to implement universal vote by mail and eliminate having to make a physical presence at a polling booth?
While Americans have moved from state to state, job to job, young to old; there has been a political battle for control of the direction America takes. The direction is dependent on how we incorporate into our voting these words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
“That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth and shall have a new birth of freedom.”
Does America move in the direction where we believe that all people are born free and equal before the law, that we all possess at least certain minimal rights that have to be mutually respected, and that we are capable of self-governance? If so then making it easy to vote is paramount.
Or, does America move in the direction where we believe we are born into bondage, that our liberties are granted as a privilege, that most of us are not capable of self-governance, and that only a very few of us should enjoy the full blessings of liberty. If so then we should make it harder for those that we don’t feel should enjoy the full blessings of liberty.
Voting by mail makes it easier to vote and therefore more people would vote. Your support for it might indicate which direction you want America to achieve or you have concerns about vote by mail’s ability to give us honest elections.
We have two sources from which to form our conclusion on vote by mail fraud.
- Politicians that think Vote by mail will give or take away an advantage.
- Data from reputable sources that have analyzed the results of vote by mail.
If you would choose 2 if it supports the conclusion you want but not if it didn’t, then your mind is probably closed. If you choose 1 you have a 50 50 chance of being right.
A politician may want to make it harder for evangelicals to vote if they believe they would vote against them and the same regarding minority populations. But in a democracy, reducing access to the ballot is difficult to justify so motives and strategies to discourage voting by particular groups cannot be openly announced. That’s where the myth of criminal voters comes in.
Some believe the Electoral College gives an advantage to one of the parties and some believe an election decided by popular vote gives them an advantage. Some believe gerrymandering can give them an advantage. Vote by mail is just another fear some have because it might give an advantage to the other guy.
- 24 journalism students at twelve universities reviewed some 2,000 public records and identified just six cases of voter impersonation between 2000 and
- Under Republican President George W. Bush, the U.S. Justice Department searched for voter fraud. But in the first three years of the program, just 26 people were convicted or pled guilty to illegal registration or voting.
- Out of 197,056,035 votes cast in the two federal elections held during that period, the rate of voter fraud was a miniscule 0.00000132 percent!
- No state considering or passing restrictive voter identification laws has documented an actual problem with voter fraud.
- When federal authorities challenged voter identification laws in South Carolina and Texas, neither state provided any evidence of voter impersonation or any other type of fraud that could be deterred by requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls.
The absence of photo identification at polling locations has not been a problem and requiring it has not decreased fraud. To say a weakness of vote by mail is the lack of voter photo identity ignores the fact that requiring it was an effort to fix a problem that didn’t exist.
Charles Stewart III of MIT proclaimed that voter fraud in America is rare and even less rare when vote by mail is used. Fraud has occurred but when it is big enough to sway the outcome of an election, it is likely to be detected.
Five states now conduct all elections almost entirely by mail. They report very little fraud.
At some point America will actually be what we like to say it is. A good place to start is with elections.